Smartest Dog Breeds


Dog Intelligence Ranking

What are the smartest dog breeds?

And how is dog intelligence measured?

Intelligence Ranking of Dog Breeds

Data collected from over 200 dog obedience judges in Canada and the US showed differences in working and obedience intelligence of different breeds.

Top 10 smartest dog breeds and the AKC's breed description:

  1. Border Collie - the most intelligent dog breed
    A workaholic, this breed is the world's premier sheep herder, prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct, and working ability.
  2. Poodle
    Exceptionally smart and active. Bred to retrieve things from the water. The miniature variety may have been used for truffle hunting.
  3. German Shepherd
    The world's leading police, guard, and military dog -- and a loving family companion and herder.
  4. Golden Retriever
    Intelligent and eager to please. Bred as a hunting companion; ideal as a guide and as assistance with search-and-rescue operations.
  5. Doberman Pinscher
    Known for its stamina and speed. Bred to be a guardian and in demand as a police and war dog.
  6. Shetland Sheepdog
    The "Sheltie" is essentially a miniature working Collie. A rough-coated, longhaired working breed that is keenly intelligent. Excels in herding.
  7. Labrador Retriever
    An ideal sporting and family dog. Gentle and intelligent.
  8. Papillon
    A happy, alert breed that isn't shy or aggressive. Known as Dwarf Spaniels in the 16th and 17th centuries, they reach 8-11 inches high.
  9. Rottweiler
    Robust and powerful, the breed is happiest with a job. Suitable as a police dog, herder, service dog, therapy dog, obedience competitor, and devoted companion.
  10. Australian Cattle Dog
    Happiest doing a job like herding, obedience, or agility. Energetic and intelligent.

Dog Intelligence Test

Author of the bestselling book, The Intelligence of Dogs, neuropsychologist Stanley Coren, PhD, uses trainability as a guage for intelligence.

Using assessments of 110 breeds by more than 200 professional dog obedience judges, scores were tabulated based on working and obedience tests.

The top 10 intelligent breeds of dogs learned commands in less than five repetitions. And obeyed them 95% or more of the time.



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